The proposed “Whistleblower Directive” initially agreed upon by the European Parliament in April was formally approved by European Union ministers on October 7, 2019. This new law standardizes whistleblower protections amongst EU member countries, which are required to enact the directive by 2021.
Amongst other new protections, which have been highly praised by some whistleblower advocates, the new rule will:
- Allow whistleblowers to report wrongdoing to outside authorities before reporting internally to their company or agency internal review program.
- Encourage reporting by making the applicable legal standard belief that misconduct occurred.
- Require all companies with over 50 employees to set up internal channels for employee reporting.
- Provide legal aid to whistleblowers who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
Both the Danske Bank Whistleblower, Howard Wilkinson, and his attorney, Stephen M. Kohn, Washington-based whistleblower lawyer and chair of the National Whistleblower Center, pushed for much stronger protections in the EU law.
However, while Mr. Kohn is pleased with the approval of this law, unlike others who claim the new directive’s protections are better than those offered under U.S. law, Mr. Kohn believes that much more work needs to be done to secure equal protections and incentives for European whistleblowers to those already in place in the United States:
“The EU Directive is a step in the right direction. But European protections are still radically deficient, and the lack of qui tam or reward provisions is a major problem.”
- EU to Vote on Rule to Provide Comprehensive Protections for Whistleblowers
- Assisting International Whistleblowers to Combat Corruption
- Watch Howard Wilkson’s testimony before the European Parliament
Read Stephen Kohn’s Letters to the European Parliament:
- February 7, 2019: Kohn Letter to the European Parliament on EU Whistleblower Directive
- July 13, 2018: Kohn Letter to the European Parliament on EU Whistleblower Directive